Many green-fingered Brits are keen to give a helping hand to the environment by turning their garden into a wildlife haven. But how exactly can you transform your garden into a wildlife haven?
To help, we have compiled a list of tips that can get you well on your way to drawing more nature and wildlife into your garden.
Don’t worry; they aren’t all expensive, some of them only involve gathering what is already on your doorstep and moulding it into a pile. Let’s get started!
1. Tidy Your Garden (But Not Too Much)
Although many of us appreciate a freshly trimmed garden with clean lines dividing the meeting of grass and soil, creating a wildlife haven doesn’t have to be too tidy.
Did you know that having a few messy areas in your garden can help attract wildlife? For instance, by merely having a pile of leaves with a few twigs can help provide wildlife with both food and shelter.
Moreover, leftover perennials are also an excellent shelter for insects.
You can build a worthwhile area for them with some hollow stems and other garden scraps.
2. Install a Pond
While natural ponds are best, you can always opt for the cheapest alternative, such as purchasing a bucket or stone basin and bury it into the ground to create a DIY pond.
It must be located in a spot which is partly in the sun and partly in the shade to prevent the pond from going stagnant. Also, you should try to make sure that it has one sloped side to allow wildlife to enter and exit the pond quickly.
3. Consider Your Fence
Most people tend to invest in a fence on their property for security and safety. However, if your goal is to have your own wildlife sanctuary outdoors, fencing is okay but make sure that they have gaps at the bottom.
By including holes in your fence, you are giving small animals such as hedgehogs and frogs entry to your outdoor space. Let’s face it; there’s no point in creating the perfect wildlife haven if you aren’t going to let small animals into it!
4. Create a Hotel for Insects
Insect hotels can be created in two ways. Either by gathering materials such as rocks, bricks, logs, twigs and leaves into a pile located in a quiet spot or by purchasing one from your local gardening store.
Building a bug hotel means you’re providing the insects with a safe area to hibernate and encourage them into your wildlife haven at the same time.
If you are interested in building an insect hotel yourself, check out this step by step guide.
5. Compost Bins
Compost bins are a great way to dispose of any of your food waste and excess soil, and at the same time, they can also be the perfect home for many species, such as worms, woodlice, spiders, fungi and frogs, are just a few of the creatures you could be soon housing.
Simply put food waste into the compost bin and turn it every so often with a fork, we recommend doing this at least once a week. On average, compost can take anywhere from a couple of months to a whole year to be ready to spread around your garden. And once it is prepared, you can start again.
Wanting to compost but don’t know where to start? Here is our Composting Guide for Beginners.
6. Feed the Birds
Like most animals, birds will be drawn to your garden if you put out food for them. The best way to offer food to the birds is to place it in a bird box or feeder, allowing them to eat in a safe place.
Bird boxes and feeders can be purchased from many places in a wide array of prices, meaning you are bound to find the perfect box you’re looking for.
Another method of feeding the birds in your wildlife haven is by positioning protein-rich food around your garden. Most commonly, these include fat balls. These are especially great in the spring when birds are trying to feed their young.
When positioning the bird food, it is crucial that it’s high up to avoid being within reach of predators. Also, ensure it is in a place where the birds can easily get in and get out.
7. Scatter Seeds
What’s a wildlife haven without wildflowers? By simply scattering the wildflower seeds in a part of your garden you can easily grow your own meadow.
This would not only look amazing in your wildlife haven but would also create the ideal spot for insects to live. Another benefit of planting wildflower seeds is that they are low maintenance.
We recommend wildflowers such as poppies, nigella, corn marigolds and annual grasses.
8. Think about Trees, Shrubs and Climbers
Not only will planting trees, shrubs and climbers enhance the visual side of your garden, but it will also attract different types of creatures and provide them with food, shelter, and nesting areas as well!
9. Create a Wildlife Observing Area
If you’re looking to transform your garden into a wildlife haven, you’re going to need somewhere to appreciate it. So why not create an area with a few comfy chairs or sofas where you can sit down and observe nature at it’s best?
You could even invest in a pair of binoculars to observe the insects and animals up close without having to get too close. This could reduce the risk of scaring them off.
A wildlife-friendly garden and a handy garden building will help you create your very own spotting den in your back garden. Follow these easy steps to turn your garden structure into a wildlife-watching room.
10. Plant Some Plants
Consider plants that can encourage wildlife to your garden. For instance, flowers that can provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and more such as Blackberry, Sweet Pea, Honeysuckle, to name a few.
Keep in mind that pollen is key to fertilisation. Therefore it is essential to try and provide pollen for as long as possible.
It is also recommended to avoid too highly-bred cultivars that have significant or double flowers as these are likely to contain little or even no pollen or nectar, e.g. Double Impatients, Double Heronsbill, Double Petunia, and more.